Pastor Hall really brought it on prayer this week. He pointed out that people used to pray all the time, whenever they wanted. Then, turns out, only certain people were allowed to pray. Then the powers that be decreed you would only pray in certain places and among certain other people. Then they designated the days. Of course, by then, nobody prayed any more. I get it—the church was basically acting like the east coast sportswriters who thought Larry Kelley was more deserving of the Heisman than Sammy Baugh back in 1936.
J.C. did away with all of this nonsense. He said you could pray whenever you wanted, wherever you damn well pleased. OK, he didn’t really put it that way. But forget all this prince of peace stuff; J.C. was kind of a radical. He always sided with the people over the establishment. Populist, rural, outsider, grew up among those with the thick country accents, most of his friends engaged in fishing or herding to make a living. Jesus, no doubt, would be an Auburn fan.
It doesn’t get much louder than an Auburn home game. Their guys where sky high coming out of the locker room. Clemson punched them right in the face. Then kept punching them, just mauling Auburn on the way to a 17-0 lead. Auburn kicked a field goal right before the half and then the fun really began. Clemson QB Kyle Parker, who could do no wrong in the first half, took a nasty shot to the ribs and wasn’t the same after that. Auburn’s QB, Cam Newton, started living up to his own hype. He completed only seven passes, but they went for 203 yards, including a 78-yard rainbow to Terrell Zachery to take a 24-17 lead. Clemson fought back. We went to overtime tied at 24. Auburn hit its field goal. Clemson hit its field goal, well the first one anyway. The refs took it off for an illegal procedure penalty. Clemson lined up again. And missed. Sort of anti-climactic after all that excitement, huh?
Auburn is a comer in the SEC. Clemson, even without C.J. Spiller on the field, shockingly did not throw in the towel and prove to be an easy out. Sadly, the close loss on the plains is probably the high point of ACC football thus far.
All week ESPN was criticized for taking Game Day to Auburn, one week after going to Tuscaloosa and two weeks after going to Atlanta. Heck, when’s the last time they went to Starkville? They’ve got Alcorn State coming up on the schedule. The protests of SEC bias notwithstanding (and unheard, the parent company has checks to cash—move along now), they did pick the best game of a mediocre college football day.
ESPN could have gone to Arizona. The only match-up of ranked teams saw the Wildcats host Iowa in a game that ended at about 3:00 am on the east coast (which means it didn’t really happen). Lee Corso had been asleep two hours by that point. It was great football: Arizona jumped out 27-7 before Iowa came back to tie. Arizona re-took the lead at 34-27 and Ricky Stanzi—for once in his life—couldn’t complete the comeback.
Arizona’s Nick Foles threw for 303 on 28/39. He’s one of the underrated stars in the Pac Ten and a FAR better quarterback than Jake Locker. And I mean "far better" like Richard Pryor versus Carrot Top far better.
Locker, the most preposterous Heisman candidate since Paul Hornung, received a thorough thrashing from the Nebraska Cornhusker defense. He completed four passes to his teammates, two others to Cornhuskers, including a pick six, and was generally awful. Nebraska cruised 56-21 in a game some thought (by "some" I mean "me") would be a tough test. Forgive me, when I called the Huskers overrated, I assumed Zac Lee would be playing quarterback. With Lee safely on the bench, this Taylor Martinez kid has proven to be the real deal. Just think of him as the Gentiles' answer to Eric Crouch. Martinez passed for 150 on only 11 attempts and rushed for 137, including an 80-yard TD.
Nebraska was the best team in the Big 12 Saturday, although Texas provided far more comic relief. The Longhorns staked a fast 14-0 lead on Texas Tech and were driving again when a tipped ball interception turned into an 87-yard pick six. Texas QB Garrett Gilbert threw three picks in all: two tipped balls and one that bounced right off the chest of his receiver. Gilbert apparently has both the physical attributes and the luck of Chris Simms. Horns win 24-14 after locking down Tech in the second half. The Red Raiders managed only 146 yards for the game.
Oklahoma struggled with Air Force most of the day before stretching out to a comfortable 27-10 lead in the fourth. But the Falcons came back to cut it to 27-24 with three minutes and change and a chance to win. Air Force never got the ball back. A healthy DeMarco Murray makes a huge difference for the Sooners. Air Force is good, by the way. This was not a Utah State replay.
Georgia gutted up and came back from a two-TD deficit in the fourth to tie Arkansas. Then, in a moment that defined "brain dead secondary play," gave up a 40-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. Arkansas 31, UGa 24.
I have overrated Georgia for the second year in a row. Although, in my defense, I assumed A.J. Green would be on the field, not in the NCAA compliance tank. Are we watching the last days of Mark Richt in Athens?
Florida, who so far this season makes the Texas offense look like the second coming of Mouse Davis and the Houston Gamblers, shook off Tennessee in a 31-17 decision in Knoxville. Defense first for Florida, but even then they gave up some big pass plays to Matt Simms. They also picked him off twice. You can insert your own comic reference to his more famous brother; I’ve already used mine in paragraph nine.
Denard Robinson shines a very bright light, but at some point we might notice that Michigan’s defense really reeks. Like, this week, perhaps, when the Massachusetts Minutemen, with neither Julius Erving nor Marcus Camby in the line-up, rang up 37 points. Michigan scored 42 because, hey, that’s how Denard Robinson rolls. But it assures the Maize and Blue of being dropped from my top ten. I am avoiding the rush before Bowling Green’s freshman quarterback (Matt Schilz, if you are scoring at home) goes all Dan Fouts on their ass next weekend.
Wisconsin nearly found a way to lose to Arizona State, having to block an extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter to preserve a 20-19 win. Not sure whether a different result would have increased or decreased the typical alcohol consumption of the Badger student body. Probably wouldn’t make a whit of difference.
Alabama and Duke have one very famous coach in common: Wallace Wade. Duke named the stadium after him and Alabama would have had that other guy in the houndstooth not shown up a few years later. But that’s (very) ancient history. ‘Bama 62, Duke 13.
Oregon bombed Portland State 69-0 and didn’t even earn the Ridiculous Score of the Day Award. Nope, Stanford takes home the RSDA with a 68-24 beat down of Wake. Nice showing, ACC…and thank God the Cardinal doesn’t have Presbyterian on the schedule.
Stanford’s win over a BCS conference team cannot be described as pay-to-play, nor can TCU’s 45-14 bludgeoning of Baylor. Non-BCS over BCS is certainly fair game. TCU provided another data point to the matrix by beating the Bears roughly the way Texas and Oklahoma do. Welcome to the Big Time.
Boise State killed Wyoming 51-6, but did break up the monotony by completing a long touchdown off of a flea-flicker and featuring the receiver doing a front flip into the end zone for what must have been an incredibly satisfying fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. They might as well rename themselves the Boise State Style Points: Oregon State’s lackluster win over Louisville further damaged whatever strength remained on the Boise State schedule.
LSU looked competent in a 29-7 win hosting Mississippi State. USC didn’t in a 32-21 win at Minnesota, a bad football team by any metric.
Mississippi, after a delightful early afternoon of canapés and cocktails, got punked by Vanderbilt, 28-14. The unenlightened will call this an upset. It’s not. Vanderbilt is a better football team than Ole Miss. Hotty Toddy that, Rebel fans. Thus endeth the Jeremiah Masoli storyline for 2010.
Georgia Tech lost to a fully-stocked Kansas team last week, barely beat Half Carolina this week. That would only be respectable during basketball season, wouldn’t it?
Ohio State beat Ohio U. By a lot. South Carolina started to do the same to Furman, but then got bored. Penn State shut out Kent State. Do you really want to know what Utah did to New Mexico?
Houston got rolled by UCLA and may have lost Case Keenum in the process. Not a memorable night for the Coogs.
Florida State ripped BYU, but at this point, no one really cares.
Outside of the top 25, Oklahoma State is racking up points at an alarming rate, as is Nevada. The Cowboys bombed Tulsa 65-28 and Whatever Nevada Calls Themselves destroyed Cal, 52-31. Those two, along with Oregon and Stanford, are averaging over 50 a game.
Finally, Michigan State beat Notre Dame on a midnight trick play, getting a TD pass off of a fake field goal in overtime. The 34-31 win sent MSU coach Mark Dantonio into heart palpitations—literally. He left the stadium and had a stent put in. No reason to make stuff up in college football, the game is just fine as it is.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Nebraska
2. Ohio State
3. Oregon Without Jeremiah Masoli and They Won’t Even Miss Him if They Watch the Ole Miss/Vandy Film
4. Nebraska: If you played the Big 12 title game tomorrow, I think the Huskers would beat Oklahoma or Texas. Of course, the game won’t be played tomorrow.
5. TCU: Here’s one: Would you take Texas on a neutral field against TCU?
6. Texas and Oklahoma: Nebraska looked great; but to be fair, both Air Force and Texas Tech are better than Washington.
8. Boise State
9. Stanford: I’ll hate myself for this, won’t I?
Eleven is South Carolina (or Auburn or Arkansas…). Michigan is out of my top ten; Iowa isn’t because they were never there in the first place.